Friday, December 30, 2005

More Back Exercises

The back is made up of many muscles. In this blog I will not review back muscles. Rather, I will give you some more back exercises.

1. Back row – This exercise works all of the major back muscles, including the rhomboids and trapezius muscles. You can use the weight machine. Machines may differ. See the instructions for position and execution. Some machines have a bar you put across your chest to stabilize your body. Put the bar so that you are perpendicular to the floor and comfortable. Some even have a seat belt which is really not needed if you keep yourself steady. Use a weight that gives you a challenge but does not give you real pain.

Pull cable attachment to waist, and do not lock your elbows when you go back to starting position. Exhale when you pull and inhale when you release. Pull shoulders back and push chest forward during the contraction. Shoulders are stretched forward when you return. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

2. Back row cardiovascular machine – you may have seen the often electronic back row cardiovascular machine. The position and movement are similar to the above, but legs are often. Exhale when you pull and inhale when you release. Pull shoulders back and push chest forward extended before you on a bar of the machine. You do not have a bar to stabilize your chest. Keep your body and legs relaxed wand steady except for your arms that pull and release the cable. during the contraction. Shoulders are stretched forward when you return. Do this exercise for at least 20 minutes. You can get a cardiovascular and resistance exercise out of this. Once you do this exercise once a week for a month, you can move up to 30 minutes. Feel your body and what it is telling you that you can do.

3. Pull down machine – This is a variation to the cable latissimus dorsi pull down exercise described in another blog. There are usually two choices of where to grip the machine. Use variation each time you use the machine. Use a weight that gives you a challenge but does not give you real pain. You pull down the bars to the front of your chest without touching your chest and release without locking your elbows. Exhale when you pull and inhale when you release. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

4. Deadlift –Use a barbell or free weights. Use a weight that gives you a challenge but does not give you real pain. Face the bar or free weights. Place your legs shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Bend at the waist to lift the bar or free weights with an overhand wrist grip. Do not let your knees pass your toes when you bend to grasp the barbell. Straighten your legs as the barbell passes your shins and reaches your knees. Then extend your back until you stand straight. Hold the straightened position for three seconds. Return the bar to the floor by returning to the original position, not by arching or hyperextending your back. Exhale when you pull and inhale when you release. Do four sets of ten repetitions. This exercise also works your hamstrings and gluteus maximus. Actually, while it mostly works out the hamstrings, secondary muscles involved include the forearms, trapezius muscle, latissimus dorsi, quadriceps and calves.


Some information for this blog was obtained from
http://musclereview.com/Templates/exercises/exercisestypes.htm
Accessed on December 30, 2005

Disclaimer: information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Three Barbell Exercises

Free weights are generally better to do than barbells since they require more strength from primary and secondary muscle groups to stabilize your movements and posture. Barbells are usually better to do than machines for the same reason, although barbells often do not allow for the variety for motion that free weights or different machines allow.

Here are three exercises that target different muscles and can be done using barbells:

1. Biceps curls - Choose a barbell weight that will give you a challenge but that you can move for ten repetitions with a full range of motion. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Lift the barbell up until it almost touches your chest, and then down so that your elbows are almost straight. Do not lock your elbows. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

2. Chest press - Choose a barbell weight that will give you a challenge but that you can move for ten repetitions with a full range of motion. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Push the barbell out until your elbows are almost straight, and then bring it back until it almost touches your chest. Do not lock your elbows. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

3. Leg muscles - Stand with legs shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. This time point your toes diagonally out, each toward opposite corners of the room if you are facing the wall. Keep your wrists resting on your quadriceps with your palms facing outward, grasping the barbell. Relax your arms. Sit and get up. Make sure that your knees do not extend beyond your toes. This works your legs muscles and gluteus maximus. It works your adductor muscles especially and is a good variation to cable exercises, squats and lunges. Do five sets of ten repetitions.

Don’t forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that helps to lift your shoulders over your head and rotate it toward and away from your body. The muscles are the infraspinaturs, supraspinatus, subscapularis and teres major. Baseball pitchers use these muscles a lot. They are frequently injured by tears, tendonitis, impingement, bursitis and strains.

Shoulder bursitis and rotator cuff tendonitis refer to an inflammation of a particular area within the shoulder joint that is causing a common set of symptoms. They can also be called "impingement syndrome", which indicates an inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons and the bursa that surrounds these tendons. Several bones, muscles, and ligaments contribute to the complex shoulder joint. This increases the chances of injury.

Impingement syndrome occurs when there is inflammation between the top of the humerus or arm bone and the acromion or tip of the shoulder. The tendons of the rotator cuff lie between these bones. In healthy situations, these tendons slide effortlessly within this space. Due to genetics or other factors, the space can become too narrow for normal motion, and the bursa and tendons become inflamed. They thicken and contribute further to the narrowness of the space. The bones rub against each other.

Rotator cuff muscle exercises are often overlooked. A common exercise is often done in grammar school gym classes: arm circles. Have your legs shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. You can do these in the air or against a wall. You can do four sets often small or large circles, in each direction, with each arm. If you do small circles one week, do big circles another week. Do the circles slowly, with a steady posture. Do four sets often repetitions with each arm in each direction (moving frontward and backward).

You can also use a rotator cuff machine at the gym. Ask a personal trainer where it is. Have your legs shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Make sure that your arms, shoulder and back are steady. Just concentrate on moving your rotator cuff muscles. Do four sets often repetitions.

You probably need to work out rotator cuff muscles once every two weeks. Too much working out of these muscles can lead to injury.

You can see four more rotator cuff exercises at htt;://www.aafp.org/afp/20030315/1315ph.html.

Don’t forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained from http://www.aafp/prg/afp/20030315/1315ph.html and
http://www.jointhealing.com/pages/shoulder/rotator cuff.html
Accessed on December 29, 2005

Disclaimer: information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Express Yourself!

What is your self-expression? Millions of people are not expressing themselves in their work. You can see it in their faces in the subway in New York City. They do not look inspired. When some people wear a uniform, they do not feel like they are expressing themselves. I remember in Catholic high school where I had to wear a uniform. We had to wear collars. So I tore off an old white shirt and put its collar under a tank top. I had several detentions for uniforms my freshman year. The Dean of Women finally forgot about it and let me on my way. I was a good student.

What is your expression for you body. It need not be a "cookie cutter" body of aerobics instructors errs. By "cookie cutter" I mean a body that looks like many other bodies. It seems like people are striving for that. One of the earliest blogs was about how no two people have the same genetics or bodies. One person has a color eyes that no one has seen another person has a particular shape of biceps that no one saw. One person may have a big bottom. Several celebrities have made money off their distinct features. Love what is your own and what you cannot change, except perhaps by drastic measures. Then choose what you want and can change.

What is your true self-expression? Is it being a big bodybuilder? Is it being a welterweight boxer? Is it being slim with few muscles? Is it being voluptuous? First get your annual medical check-ups, connect with yourself to monitor how you feel and perform, and then choose what workout you want for the body you want.

And love yourself!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Dance! Be in the Moment!

I went dancing for the first time in weeks last night. I went to the Copa Cabana after office work dressed in sexy but not-too-sexy clothes and long boots. And I danced, and danced, and danced. I was not too attracted to my partner, but I danced. I could have easily said that I wanted to go home and sleep but I danced. I thought that I wanted to go home, but I stayed and danced.

I connected to myself. I was in the moment. I felt past dates and pains and regrets. But I danced. I expressed who I am. I felt my strength, used it and shared it with the world. I expressed my sexuality. When my partner paused to wipe off his sweat, I danced.
At times like this, there is the present moment. Who cares if you blew your workout yesterday? Who cares if you have a report due at work today? You are here now lifting that dumbbell. You are great, strong, committed, and present. Dance! Be true to who you are! Be true to your word! Get in the game of your life. Get into your work out. Be it. Perform. Breathe out. You are done. Congratulate yourself.

Working out is the best hobby. It prepares you for times like this, to dance!
You never know what can happen!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Be Grateful

Did you ever notice how beautiful birds are when they sit on a winter tree branch and munch on a little berry? Did you notice how new rain and snow often are even if you have seen them before hundreds of times? Did you notice how your eyes, nose, toes and other body parts are unique and your own? You would notice them anytime and anywhere!

Do you know how even the pain after some workouts feels good? Does it feel great for you to know you did what you said that you would do in terms of working out? Doesn’t it feel good to breathe, be alive and be healthy? Isn’t the spring breeze or winter wind on your face an expression of love in the universe?

It is all good. Be grateful.

This is a short and important blog.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Acknowledge Yourself

You must acknowledge yourself when you go to the gym. If you fail to meet a weight loss goal by a set time, acknowledge yourself for trying, getting to the gym and being a person who plays and fights. If you are in a game, race or long-distance run, acknowledge yourself.

If you finish a workout and feel pain, acknowledge and love yourself. If you miss some days at the gym, forgive yourself acknowledge yourself for even playing the fitness game and noticing you were out of integrity.

You are healthy enough to move. Even if you are sick, you love, you think, and you move. You are amazing. You are “lucky”. You are unique and the only one of you in the world. You are taking on your health. You are you. You are the “luckiest” person on Earth. You are beautiful. You are fun. You mean business. You play to win but are always a winner! You are the best. You are real. You get to the bottom of things and play. Acknowledge yourself.

This is a short and important blog.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Get to Know Yourself

Working out is not just about health, looking good and getting bigger and stronger. Its benefits include mental and the spiritual elements.

When you work out in one hour, one day, one week, one year, or years, through the same or different routines, outdoor sports, aerobics classes, free weights or anything else, you get to know yourself. That is one of the huge benefits of working out.

What do I mean by getting to know yourself? Have you ever overcome a big obstacle? Have you overcome heartbreak, relatives that are a way that does not work for you, a boss who acts like a jerk, tough courses in school, an illness or any other situation? Well, that is like sticking with your workout, finishing a Marathon, going when you see no results yet.

Like peeling the layers of an onion, with you being the onion, you get to see who you are, what you are made of, what makes you tick, and what you can do. And that is priceless.

This is a short and important blog.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Success = Getting Up Over and Over Again

Working out ultimately is not about looking good. It is about health and it is about looking good. Ultimately it is a way of being. It is growth. It is connected in several dimensions to mentality and spirituality.One thing you get about working out is to stay committed to your goals, forgive yourself when you do not meet them, and get back up over and over again. If you do not do this, you are quitting, and missing one of the many lessons that working out gives you. Even if you work out alone, you grow and learn from working out. You apply the lessons to life, family, work fun and everything!

This is a valuable lesson that you do not want to miss. Whether you do not reach your fitness goals or weight goals, or you miss a day, or you do not get an exercise right, or you feel pain after an exercise, or whatever else, you will learn, as long as you are present and aware, to get back up over and over again.

Success is defined by culture and media. It often means for people to look good, have great relationships, have money and have things. None of these aspects of success are inherently bad. YOU get to define success for yourself. And an important element of that is to forgive and love yourself, and to get back up over and over again.

This is a short and important blog.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cable Leg Adductor and Abductor Exercises

The adductors are a group of muscles that include: the adductor magnus, longus and brevis, the gracilis and the pectineus. They originate on the pelvic bone and attach at intervals along the length of the femur. This interval attachment provides the most power and stability for the hip joint and the femur.

The primary function of the adductors is adduction of the legs, or movement of the legs toward the centerline of the body. The adductors also stabilize the hip.

The abductor muscles, on the other hand, abduct the leg away from the centerline of the body. They include the gamelli muscles, piriformis muscle and gluteus minimus.
Do you remember the leg scissor exercises from grammar school? Those worked the adductor and abductor muscles. You can use bands of these muscle groups as well. I will describe a cable exercise to do.

You need to be in shape to do this exercise with a significant amount of weight. Have a personal trainer supervise you for the first time. Choose a weight that gives you a workout, but does not give you severe pain. Choose a weight that you can lift for the full range of motion. Breathe in when you extend your arm and breathe out when you lift the weight.

For the adductor muscles, go to the cable rack. Attach an anklet (most gyms have this) to your right ankle. Move your left leg behind you, to make room for you to steadily move your right leg in front of your left leg and then back like a pendulum. Make sure the weights do not hit. Repeat for four sets of ten repetitions. Repeat for the left leg.

Now put the anklet around your right ankle again. This time face the other way. This will allow you to swing your right leg away from the centerline of the body, working the right leg’s abductor muscles. Move your leg for the full range of motion. Make sure the weights do not hit. Repeat for four sets of ten repetitions. Repeat for the left leg.

As with other muscle groups, rest in between days where you use the triceps as primary muscles in an exercise. Have fun!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some of the information for this blog was taken from http://www.fitstep.com/Advanced/Anatomy/Adductors.htm
Accessed on December 20, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Four Hamstrings Exercises

The hamstrings are the muscles in the back of the leg: the biceps femoris (long head), biceps femoris (short head), semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. They are responsible for: knee flexion, internal rotation and external rotation and hip extension.

When you work out a muscle or muscle group, you want to target as many muscle fibers as you can, in as many different angles or ways that you can. Choose a weight that gives you a workout, but does not give you severe pain. Choose a weight that you can lift for the full range of motion. Breathe in when you extend your arm and breathe out when you lift the weight.

Here are the exercises:

1. Use the hamstring curl machine. Adjust the seat also that your knees are aligned with the mark, usually a plastic circle on the machine. Hold your back steady. Use a seat belt if you must. Leave only a little space between the small of your back and the back of the seat. Do smooth, easy movements up and down. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

2. Use the lie-down hamstring curl machine. Make sure that your ankles are beneath the bottom bar that you lift. Do smooth, easy movements up and down. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

3. Lunges (See the lunges blog.)

4. Squats (See the squat blog.)

As with other muscle groups, rest in between days where you use the triceps as primary muscles in an exercise. Have fun!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Pectoralis Major and Minor - Chest Exercises

You can do several exercises for the pectoralis major and minor. I will list and describe one machine and two variations of a dumbbell exercise here.

Choose a weight that gives you a workout, but does not give you severe pain. Choose a weight that you can lift for the full range of motion. Bend your knees slightly. Do not lock your elbows during the exercises. Breathe in when you extend your arms and breathe out when you lift the weight.

Here are the exercises:

1. Lie down on a bench with your dumbbells, one in each hand. With your feet flat on the end of the bench or on the floor, make sure there is only a small natural space between the small of your back and the bench. With your wrists facing each other, right and left, start by extending your arms to your sides (right arm to right side and left arm to left side). Then bring your wrists together without having the weights touch. Do four sets of ten repetitions. You can repeat another four sets of ten repetitions with your wrists facing forward.

2. Use a fly machine. Adjust the arms of the machine to go as far backward as possible. Make sure that the seat position is comfortable. Bring your arms together. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

3. Use an incline chest machine. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

4. Use the bench press. Find the weight that is right for you and balance it on each side. Repeat the back position of [1.]. Do four sets of ten repetitions

As with other muscle groups, rest in between days where you use the triceps as primary muscle group in an exercise. Pay attention to how your body responds to each exercise. Have fun!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Two Simple Latissimus Dorsi Exercises

The Latissimus Dorsi are some of the largest muscles of the body, and the largest muscles of the back. They help define your back and waist. They assist in your bringing objects down from over your heads toward your body or, if you are bent, lifting them from close to the ground to close to your body.

Choose a weight that gives you a workout, but does not give you severe pain. Choose a weight that you can lift for the full range of motion. Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Do not lock your elbows during the exercises. Breathe in when you extend your arm and breathe out when you lift the weight.

Here are the exercises:

1. Use a pulldown machine. Keep your shoulders down. Grasp the bar and bring it down behind your neck. Then let it go slowly. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

2. Use dumbbells. Bend forward slightly and use one arm to support your weight against a surface such as a weight rack. Hold a dumbbell with the other arm lifted behind you so that the shoulder and elbow can be as close to 180 degrees as possible. Lift the arm up, pointing the elbow up until you cannot go up and back more due to your shoulders. When you extend your arm, do not lock the elbow. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

As with other muscle groups, rest in between days where you use the triceps as primary muscles in an exercise. Have fun!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Three Simple Triceps Exercises

I will repeat some material from the previous biceps blog:

When you work out a muscle or muscle group, you want to target as many muscle fibers as you can, in as many different angles or ways that you can. The triceps are a basic muscle group, composed of three muscles from the shoulder to the elbow. They primarily help you to push things away from you or to push your body from a resistance such as a wall or floor.

It is recommended that you use free weights instead of machines. You have to do more work with free weights, thereby working more muscle fibers and building core balance and strength as well.

Choose a weight that gives you a workout, but does not give you severe pain. Choose a weight that you can lift for the full range of motion. Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Do not lock your elbows during the exercises. Breathe in when you extend your arm and breathe out when you lift the weight.

Here are the exercises:

1. Use dumbbell weights that work for you. Hold one arm over your head with a dumbbell and the elbows bent. Proceed to extend that arm over your head, using the other arm for slight support if you need it. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

2. Bend forward slightly and use one arm to support your weight against a surface such as a weight rack. Hold a dumbbell with the other arm lifted behind you so that the shoulder and elbow can be as close to 180 degrees as possible. Extend the arm out. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

3. With your arms behind you, hold onto a chair that is secure on the floor. Your legs will be bent or extended before you. Keep your shoulders as low as possible to resting position (not slouching). Use your arms to lift your body up and down. Do four sets of ten repetitions.
As with other muscle groups, rest in between days where you use the triceps as primary muscles in an exercise. Have fun!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Three Simple Biceps Exercises

When you work out a muscle or muscle group, you want to target as many muscle fibers as you can, in as many different angles or ways that you can. The biceps are a basic muscle group, composed of two muscles from the shoulder to the elbow. The primarily help you to pull things toward you and to lift things.

It is recommended that you use free weights instead of machines. You have to do more work with free weights, thereby working more muscle fibers and building core balance and strength as well.

Here are three variations of biceps curls with free weights. Choose a weight that gives you a workout, but does not give you severe pain. Choose a weight that you can lift for the full range of motion.

Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Do not lock your elbows during eth exercises. Breathe in when you extend your arm and breathe out when you lift the weight.

1. Lift the dumbbells from your arms being almost straight smoothly until the dumbbells almost touch your upper arms. Do four sets of ten repetitions.

2. Repeat [1.] but have your arms point diagonally - 45 degrees from the front of your body.

3. Repeat [3.] and have your inner wrists facing the side of your body.

These variations will allow you to target different muscle fibers and get off a plateau.

As with other muscles, rest in between days where you use the biceps as primary muscles in an exercise. Have fun!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Monday, December 12, 2005

How Many Calories Should You Burn Per Day?

The amount of calories that you need per day to be healthy varies by: if you are female or male; if you are a pregnant female; your health; your diet; your age; the amount of muscle that you have; and your level of activity. Pregnant women, sick people, young and older people and people with a high level or activity or stress need more calories than average. Men need more calories than women.This is important since the basic way to lose weight is to take in more calories and to burn more calories. Note that if you exercise a lot more by time and/or intensity, you can take in more calories and still lose weight.

Notice that muscle burns more than at. That is not a myth. It is the Truth. Therefore, dieting and aerobics alone are usually not efficient to lose weight. You will need to build muscle. Many women are afraid that if they train, they ill look like a bodybuilder. Do not worry. Unless you train a lot and eat an amount of protein that is a lot more than normal for you, this will not happen. Weight training is good for health, burning calories and your bones.

Weight training also affects insulin resistance due to increased muscle mass. Insulin is a hormone released by the Islets of Langerhans of the pancreas and promotes the uptake of glucose from the blood into cells. Insulin is the body's primary storage hormone because it directs digested nutrients such as glycogen and amino acids into either lean tissue (the liver and muscle) for fuel, or into the fat cells. When you lift weights, your body relies on glycogen for energy. When glycogen fuel stores are depleted, more nutrients are shuttled into muscle cells as opposed to your fat cells. Your metabolism is activated and you burn more calories.

Fat cells are resistant to insulin and glucose. Glucose is more likely to get into muscle cells and get burned. If there are too many fat cells more insulin will be needed. This condition may lead to diabetes. In addition, excess insulin goes to the liver, where it is converted into triglycerides, precursors to fat. Triglycerides interfere with insulin sensitivity, and a vicious cycle ensues.

To find out how many calories you should be burning per day, do an internet search. It is even better if you consult a physician or dietician. Again, as you work out and get more in touch with your body, you will feel how much food you need per day.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained fromhttp://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_6_1x_Calorie_Calculator.asp, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/metabolism/WT00006/si=2765 and http://www.bodymusclejournal.com/vol03/women_bodyfat_loss.html

Accessed on December 12, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Week's Quadriceps Training

Remember that quadriceps blog at the beginning of my blog page? My blogs have been a matrix of different spiritual and physical aspects to working out, in no particular order. Here is where I am choosing to place a week's quadriceps training plan. This is for intermediate fitness people. Do not forget to first consult a physician before working out and a personal trainer before taking on a new routine.

It is important to rest between quadriceps workouts, so this routine is to be done every other day. It does not include cardiovascular workouts. I recommend cardiovascular workouts and weights each gym day in order to work out your heart, lungs and muscles. Everything is interdependent. To get a good workout and burn fat, do cardiovascular routine for over 20 minutes. I recommend at least 30 minutes. Cardiovascular workout information will come in other blogs.

Do a ten-minute cardiovascular warm up before your quadriceps weights. Afterwards, do a ten-minute cardiovascular cool down. Stretch before your quadriceps workout. One way to stretch your quadriceps is to stand up and hold one leg at a time for at least five seconds bent behind your hips. Do this before and after your weight workout.

Day One

Do five sets of 10 repetitions of leg extension. Use a weight that gives you a workout but not severe pain.

Day Two

Do four sets of 15 squats. A squat blog will follow shortly. Make sure your legs are shoulder-width apart, you do not lock your knees and you move slowly for the full range of motion.

Day Three

Do four sets of 10 lunges holding a dumbbell in each hand. Use a weight that gives you a good resistance but not severe pain. One repetition is comprised of both knees going to the floor, in other words, two moves.

Day Four

Use the lying down leg press machine. Do four sets of ten repetitions with your heels on the edges of the machine. Get up and stretch.

Day Five

Use a big workout band. They sell them at some gyms and sports good places. Or you can buy them online. Stand. Place one end of the workout band under the ball of a foot. Put the other end of the workout band beneath your other foot. Secure your body against a wall for balance if you need to with the arm opposite the foot with the workout band around it. Lift your foot against the workout band pressure for four sets of ten. Repeat with the other foot by first changing the workout band positions. What a great workout this is! You will sweat and hardly move!

You may notice that you cannot take a day off in between workouts with these five exercises. So choose three per week and then stick with which three work for you per one-month cycle. Use the same exercises for one month, then change two exercises to get off a plateau!
Drink your water before, during and after exercising to match your body’s needs.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Alcohol and the Liver

Alcohol poses damage to the liver when drunk in excess. First, here is a brief overview of the large amount of work that the human liver does:1. blood detoxification;2. drug detoxification;3. glycogen storage;4. plasma protein synthesis; and5. production of bile for digestionExcessive drinking of alcohol can cause alcohol-induced liver disease.

There are three primary types of alcohol-induced liver disease:1. Fatty liver, which is characterized by the excessive accumulation of fat inside the liver cells. The liver is enlarged and upper abdominal discomfort is often felt on the right side. This is the most common alcohol-induced liver disease.2. Alcoholic hepatitis is an acute inflammation of the liver, destruction of individual liver cells and scarring. The liver is often enlarged and tender. Symptoms may include fever, jaundice, an increased white blood cell count, and spider-like veins in the skin.3. Alcoholic cirrhosis is the destruction of normal liver tissue. Non-functioning scar tissue replaces healthy tissue. Symptoms may include those of alcoholic hepatitis, in addition to portal hypertension, enlarged spleen, ascites, kidney failure, and confusion. Alcoholic cirrhosis may lead to liver cancer, which is often fatal.Since the symptoms of alcohol-induced liver disease may resemble symptoms of other medical conditions, consult your physician for a diagnosis.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained from http://www.umm.edu/liver/alcohol.htmAccessed on December 8, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Moderate Alcohol Intake

My father always told me about Socrates's saying: "Pan metron ariston". That means that everything taken to the extreme is no good. That includes being overly fundamentalist religiously, studying, or working out. This is a central way that I live my life. Perhaps that is why moderate alcohol drinking has been found to be healthy in everything from lowering blood pressure, preventing diabetes, guarding against osteoporosis, keeping away the common cold, and even preventing cancer.

Alcohol molecules end in -OH. Alcohol has been used medicinally throughout recorded history. This use has even been recorded in the Bible. One of the earliest studies that alcohol can be beneficial was in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Some medical research suggests that alcohol can have a greater impact on heart disease than vigorous exercise, eliminating salt and dieting. I would have to read this research. I am not advocating drinking, but alcohol does dilute the blood, thereby decreasing blood pressure.

Go to www.pubmed.gov and look up "alcohol" or "alcohol and health" to find related scientific journal articles. Do not overdrink. But if you have a glass of wine a day, or I would say every other day or on weekends, you may be furthering your health. This of course depends on where your health is now.

Too much alcohol can be harmful. Pregnant women should not drink alcohol. More on overdrinking will come in a future blog.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained from http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/AlcoholAndHealth.html and http://www.webmd.com/content/pages/9/1675_57836
Accessed on December 7, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Interval Training

Interval training is an amazing way to increase your cardiovascular health, get off a plateau and increase performance in day-to-day life or in a sport. It is sometimes called Guerilla Cardio or, by the Swedes, the Fartlek technique. It is to be used by intermediate or advanced exercisers, and done for the first few times after the permission of a physician and the overseeing of a personal trainer. An interval session involves a warm-up period, several short, maximum-intensity efforts separated by moderate recovery intervals, and a cool down period. At the beginning, the total time can be just five minutes and one can work themselves up to 40 minutes. Besides the above health benefits, it is proven to be more effective at burning calories compared to long duration, low intensity workouts.

Interval training is a way to improve your aerobic capacity, which is the ability of the body to remove oxygen from the air and transfer it through the lungs and blood to the working muscles. You will raise your anaerobic threshold, the point at which the body can no longer meet its demand for oxygen. Thus, you will be able to keep utilizing oxygen in aerobic respiration, which burns fat! And you will be able to work out harder and longer.

You can use many movements into interval training and incorporate it creatively into a cardiovascular or weight workout. You can walk or run slowly for some minutes, and then quickly, alternating speeds. The fast walk or sprint run can last about a minute. You can use climbing and descending stairs slowly and quickly, or use this quickly in between ten-minute cardiovascular session. You can incorporate walking, running and climbing stairs. Spin classes often use interval training by varying speed and incline.

Go past your comfort zone. But, as with everything else in working out, listen to your body. If real injury can occur, cool down or stop. You will see that each time, or every few times, that you do interval training, you will get better at it.

You can use a heart rate monitor to make sure that you stay in your target heart rate zone.

To find out more about the science of interval training, look it up at www.pubmed.gov.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained from http://www.bodytrends.com/articles/cardio/interval.htm
Accessed on December 6, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Perfection Context and Being Straight with Yourself

This blog is related to the one called "Choosing Your Body". Do you ever think that everything you do, whether it is raising your children, cleaning your home, looking good, losing weight and practicing your body is never good enough? Do you think you will never get the body you want?

There is a difference between striving for perfection, thinking you will attain it after you take several steps or thinking you will never attain it, and being straight with yourself in terms of something you need to put into action to up the level of what you are doing. I think of myself as perfect from the spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. I rejoice in who I am and always did since I was a child. I can lose or gain weight, be tired, laugh or yell, and at the core of my being, the context of what I do, that is what I believe.

We are marvelous creatures. No two of us are alike, even identical twins. We came out of one sperm meeting an egg of a particular month, and we are here! Our bodies are an amazingly complex and coordinated system. Have you ever thought how lucky you are to be here and to be healthy, or to have the level of health that you have?

Why not think of yourself as perfect? I do not mean to have severe acne and think you will make it to the cover of a dermatology magazine. I do not mean to not work out for months and notice you are huffing and puffing up the stairs and not go to the physician. I do not mean to notice that you are losing your temper more than usual and not get the source of it. I do not mean to like how your hair looks a certain style and not go to the hairdresser. I do not mean to not be straight with yourself when you are being lazy and there is something you can put in like an ingredient to a recipe that can up the level of what you are doing, if that is your commitment.

I mean to really feel and get that you are perfect. It may not be explainable in words.

Do you get it?

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Hard Work

Do you know how sometimes you do not want to take the first step? You may not want to start a conversation with someone and talk about something that you both have been avoiding. You may not want to start that term paper. You may not want to start your work out. But the first step is the most important step.

You may find that all of that hard work that you are avoiding is really just in your mind. Look back on your life to when you were happy. Happiness is generated from the inside, but that will be in another blog. You may find that you were happy relaxing at the beach or on the patio with a lemonade, or talking with a friend on a lazy afternoon. You may also find that you were happy when you "worked hard". Many people get a high from sweating and doing the work - doing what needs to be done to get a promotion, finish that report, build some muscle.

Everything is yin/yang. Intending results and being a big, welcoming receptor for results is more of the yin quality of human beings and the Universe. The reverse of that is action - going out and creating and doing what it takes to get what you want. Think of a great football player scoring a touchdown. First he catches the ball while other football players are trying to block him or hit him. Then he maneuvers his way against all the obstacles on the field to make that touchdown. All the while, he stays mindful and present. From the beginning, he intended and was committed to making a great play and scoring, or at least contributing to his team winning. The flip side of that was the action, the challenge with himself, and the competitive drive.

Recently I resisted starting to work on one of the several papers that I have to complete for the end of this semester in my Ph.D. program in information science. It took months to get the books I needed, and hours to read them and make notes for the paper. Then I had to organize my major points, write, edit and type! Once I took the first step, the rest was a good flow of "hard work" I actually enjoyed snuggling up in my bed and creating that paper.

The same can be true for working out. Take that first step. Start to work. You may find you love the "hard work" and sweat, until it is not hard work anymore and becomes your self-expression! Be happy and be your "work" moment to moment!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Genetics

Everyone is different. For example, two men can work out their biceps doing the same exercise for the same amount of time while on the same diet. One of their biceps may have a different shape or be bigger. If you are working out to look like someone, forget it. You won’t. You will only look like you - a variation of you. And that is good news because you are unique and beautiful. And guess what? You were always unique and beautiful even before you starting dieting and working out. Who wants a cookie-cutter body anyway? It's all about taking your body to another level - whether it is a certain muscle, weight, flexibility or strength. It's all a variation of you anyway.

Some people that do aerobics or some female bodybuilders or some female strippers and male bodybuilders look too similar. But they never look alike. Let your body be itself. You may not be able to change some things like proportions or having at least some cellulite. Embrace it: it is you, it is unique and it is lovely!

Genetics influences how your skeleton is which has a lot to do with posture and length of muscles. It influences from where we tent to lose weight from first. For instance, some women will lose fat from their face that they don't want to lose before they lose all the fat they want to lose from a certain body area. Or they may lose breast fat that they don't want to lose before they lose the abdominal fat that they find it difficult to lose. Remember, you cannot spot reduce. But you can work out and keep in touch with your body to the point that you may be able to influence what you lose from where - much like you can think yourself through an illness and through the pain in a marathon. This cannot be explained so much in words as it can be felt and learned spiritually and through experience.

No matter what, love yourself!


Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Failure

Failure can be good. We all fail, often many times, before we accomplish what we set out to do. Each time we fail, we grow in the following ways: 1. Who we are regarding failure gives us growth;2. We see what our triggers of failure from the past are; 3. We evolve in our relationship to failure; 4. We see what was missing and put it in to be more effective next time; and 5. We learn from our experience, grow and mature as human beings.

By failing we get to see if we are really committed to our goals and not attached. If we are attached, we get to see how we self-sabotage our commitment. What self-sabotaging conversations do we have? These can include:

I will never be good enough.
It is too good to be true.
I do not have the time.
I do not know how.
I cannot do it.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Choose Your Body!

Choosing where you are is important. You can be in traffic, and whine, curse and complain. Doing so to an extent is not “bad”. After all, complaining does several things: it gives us an access to who we are, our needs, and wants; it offers us an opportunity for some intimacy and sharing with close ones; and it gives us an opportunity to see things that we are not fond of in life, and a chance to transform them or go get what we want!

At the same time, we can choose where we are and trust the Universe that we are exactly where we need to be. This includes our bodies. This comes down to loving yourself. After all, many people do not have their health, and doing something as simple as breathing or walking is difficult. Our bodies are miracles. Love your body. There is only one you in the Universe. Love yourself! You are beautiful! And if someone else says that you are not, so what? Think so! And if you don’t think so – think so! You will end up believing it!

Unless you love and accept your body before taking on working out, one of the following will happen: 1. You struggle in and hate the process of losing weight; you try and try again, and your weight keeps yo-yoing; you never lose weight; and you lose weight, keep the weight off, yet are never truly free and happy.

After you accept your body, whatever shape you are in, you get to choose how you want to look. Before starting an exercise program, you must get a medical check-up. This includes if you have had one at any time before six months. Health is most important. If you have a bad back or knee and the physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist tell you not to do certain exercises, listen to them. You get to set the goals for yourself. You do not have to look like anyone you know or anyone in a magazine.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Calf Muscles

Human calves are made up of the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle. The gastrocnemius is the calf muscle that is visible from the outside of the body - it's what makes women's legs look great in high heels and what body builders love to pump. This muscle originates behind the knee on the femur. The Achilles tendon attaches it to the heel. The gastrocnemius is made up of the medial head and the lateral head. This muscle elevates the heel as in plantar flexion. Standing calf raises work the gastrocnemius. Be careful not to hurt your shoulders on the machine. You can actually do this exercise on any raised surface, such as with books, and holds weights for more resistance. This does not strain your shoulders. Do five sets of ten with a weight that gives you a good work out but does not hurt or strain your muscle.

The soleus is under the gastrocnemius on the rear of the lower leg, and is most active when doing calf exercises where the knee is bent, such as seated calf raises. This muscle also raises the heel, but when the knee is bent. Do five sets of ten with a weight that gives you a good work out but does not hurt or strain your muscle.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information from this blog was obtained from http://www.fitstep.com/Advanced/Anatomy/Calves.htm
Accessed on November 28, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Protein

Protein comes from Greek πρωτεϊνη or first thread. Proteins are molecules made up of amino acids. They are complex and have a high-molecular-weight. Proteins are essential for our body. Some proteins are enzymes or subunits of enzymes. Nutritionally speaking, proteins serve as the source of amino acids. Proteins yield four kilocalories of energy per gram, but they are not the ideal energy source of the body as carbohydrates are.

Adults need a minimum of 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day to keep from slowly breaking down their own tissues for proteins. If a person if malnourished, their body will actually break up muscle cells for protein. Protein malnutrition leads to kwashiorkor. This is most common in children. Symptoms include swollen abdomen, reddish discoloration of the hair and depigmented skin. Protein deficiency can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, weakening of the heart and respiratory system, and death. If someone suffers from kwashiorkor, they are first given food with high content of protein.Digesting protein takes a lot of calcium which comes from food or bone. If you eat too much protein for many weeks, a significant bone mass may occur.

Complete proteins that have all the essential amino acids a person needs come from animals. Vegetarians should eat a variety of protein-containing foods each day and/or should take amino acid supplements.

In the past few years, people have been losing weight using high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. Some research in the past two years that people on lose carbohydrate, high-protein diets lose weight quicker than people on low-fat diets. They have shown that after a year or so, weight loss if about equal. This may be so because our bodies get on a plateau. These diets may work because: high-protein foods slow the movement of food from the stomach to the intestine, making a person feel full for longer and get hungrier later; protein's gentle, steady effect on blood sugar avoids the quick, steep rise in blood sugar and subsequent hunger; and because the body uses more energy to digest protein. You can do your own search on www.pubmed.gov on recent research articles on diets.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/protein.html
Accessed on November 28, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the most common energy form. They are broken down into sugar, most commonly glucose. They yield 4 kcal of energy per gram. They come in two basic forms -complex and simple. Simple carbs are a few molecules of sugar linked together in single molecules. Complex carbs are hundreds or even thousands of sugar units linked together in a molecule. Simple sugars are sweet, while complex carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, are pleasant to the taste buds, but not sweet.

There are high fiber and low fiber complex carbohydrates. Human beings do not have the enzyme to digest high-fiber carbohydrates like grass. Human beings do not have the enzymes to digest the cellulose in high-fiber, complex carbohydrates. When we eat food with high-fiber, complex carbohydrates, such as certain vegetables, we digest everything but the fiber, which is passed out of our body and actually helps our digestive system do its job. Processing of vegetables strips away fiber and/or vitamin content. One example of processing is cutting an orange and squeezing it for juice, as opposed to just eating it with the white fiber stuck on the flesh of the orange. High-fiber carbohydrates have been associated with lowered incidences of diseases such as hypertension, cancer, arthritis and diabetes.

Some low-fiber, complex carbohydrates are banana, tomato, squash and all cereals and grains, potatoes and rice. The enzyme amylase, which is in human saliva, digests carbohydrates.
When a person eats a simple carbohydrate, the energy is more readily available. However, the person may crash once the energy is depleted. That is why it is recommended to eat a complex carbohydrate such as past before a marathon.

If a person eats too many carbohydrates and does not use them as energy, they are converted into fat. As with most other things, a person gets to know their body as they work out, and gets to sense how much of each food group works for their body and for their activity schedule. Of course, getting an annual blood test and physician screening are also important.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some material from this blog was obtained from http://www.medical-library.net/sites/framer.html?/sites/carbohydrates_in_nutrition.html
Accessed on November 27, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Amino Acids

The 20 amino acids of the human body are building blocks of proteins and as intermediates in metabolism. Proteins not only catalyze most of the reactions in living cells, and control virtually all cellular process. Amino acids determine how a protein will fold into a three-dimensional structure, and the stability of the resulting structure. Meat, especially some meat like chicken and tuna, contains high amounts of protein, as do other foods such as soybeans. That is why bodybuilders often eat high amounts of these foods - proteins are huge components of muscle!

Some amino acids are essential; they must be supplied in the food. If a person does not intake even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, the result can be the degradation of the body's proteins, such as muscle tissue, to obtain the that amino acid. Amino acids are not stored in the human body and the essential amino acids must be in a person's diet every day.

The 10 amino acids that people can produce are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Since tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine, if the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, tyrosine will be required as well. The essential amino acids are arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Diet and exercise go hand in hand. You can consult a physician to find out if you have a deficiency in an amino acid. You can consult a nutritionist for good sources of the essential amino acids.

To see how the amino acids look, check out http://www.chemie.fu-berlin.de/chemistry/bio/amino-acids_en.html .

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained at http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/aa/aa.html
Accessed on November 23, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lactic Acid - Ouch!

Do you know how your muscles aches after a workout? Sometimes it aches the day after or days later. When oxygen and glycogen in a muscle is used up, the muscle uses anaerobic respiration for energy. As the name infers, oxygen is not used. A product of anaerobic respiration is glucose, which can then be used for aerobic respiration. Pyruvic acid, which is formed from glucose in aerobic respiration, transforms into lactic acid, which diffuses out of the muscle cell into the blood. Energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), what muscles use for energy, is produced.

Once sufficient oxygen is restored, the lactic acid can be used for energy or reconverted into glucose by the liver and other tissues (a process known as oxidation).

The reaction is:

Pyruvic acide + 5H+ + 2 NAD > lactic acid + 2NADH
C3H4O3 C3H4O6

When too much lactic acid accumulates in the cell, acidity may be too high to maintain the proper degree of acidity in the cell. Fatigue and pain can also result. Resting between sets and resting a muscle used in weight training for at least a day helps to prevent lactic acid-induced fatigue and pain. For some anerobic sports, such as sprints, it is useful to eat a high glycogen meal after a work out.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained from http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/exercisephysiology/a/aa053101a.htm
Accessed on November 22, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Oxidative Respiration for Muscle Energy

Muscles need energy. This energy comes from food. The food is stored as glycogen in muscles and fat. Sometimes, when there is not much other choice and due to factors such as diet and exercise, the body will burn protein. The fuel for muscle is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In aerobic respiration, the most common way in which we obtain ATP, the oxygen that we breathe reacts with atoms and molecules to produce ATP. The main fuel for this is glucose, or the most common sugar molecule. Glycogen is reduced to glucose. Here is the reaction:

(1) C6H12O6 + 6 O2 + 6 H2O + 38 ADP +38 P > 6 CO2 + 12 H2O + 38 ATP + 420
kilocalories

All of the C-H bonds and C-C bonds, which are high in evergy, have been lost and replaced by bonds having minimal energy. These minimal energy bonds - H-O and C-O - have been spared or created. Energy is liberated, along with carbon dioxide, through the oxidation of molecules containing carbon. Note that water is needed for this reaction, so drink plenty of it! (See the water blog.)

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained from http://www.cbu.edu/~seisen/AerobicRespiration.htm
Accessed on November 22, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Monday, November 21, 2005

More about Abdominal Muscles

There are four types of abdominal muscles: rectus abdominus, internal obliques, external obliques and transverse abdominus. Different exercises work each of these muscles. People often think they can spot reduce. You cannot spot reduce; genetics play a function in how your muscle will look. Abdominal muscles were not meant to be fall. Many people with developed abdominal muscles have a rounded look. Two men, for instance, can train their abdominal muscles or biceps with the same exercises during the same time period, and eat the same diet, and end up with muscles that are different sized and shapes. Genetics, including body structure, play a role in this.

One exercise for the rectus abdominus is abdominal crunches. You do not need to come all the way up for this to be effective. You lie on your stomach, place your hands behind your head and come up at a good range of muscle. You can feel when your abdominal muscles are principally working. Use this range of motion. Keep your elbows open. If you keep them closed, your arms are working rather than your abdominal muscles and you can strain your neck. Work in sets and do as many repetitions are a challenge for you without hurting you. A beginner can start with five sets of ten repetitions.

For the internal and external obliques, one exercise you can do is to use a broom or weight bar. Hold it behind you neck. Keep your legs open an inch over shoulder width, with knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight. Turn right to left slowly, without bouncing. Work in sets and do as many repetitions are a challenge for you without hurting you. A beginner can start with five sets of ten repetitions.

Transverse obliques are more difficult and subtle to train. We use them when we breathe. Beginners would want to have trained transverse abdominal muscles. One thing you can do is lie down on a small medicine ball. Place the medicine ball beneath your body, right under your septum. Breathe in an out against the medicine ball. Work in sets and do as many repetitions are a challenge for you without hurting you. A beginner can start with five sets of ten repetitions.

More blogs on the abdominal muscles are to come.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hitting the Wall During the Marathon or Anywhere Else

If you have run for a long distance, you know that after a period of time, you hit a "wall". The time you hit this may be later the more you practice. The wall can be caused by fatigue or by different muscles each time. Often when you run, it is caused by your feet! I find that no matter what sneakers you buy, they will hurt!

As I emphasize often, work outs are spiritual and mental as well as physical. When I have run marathons, I often find myself thinking about people and things that affect me for miles! It's great that I can catch myself doing this and get it out of my mind. It is also wonderful to be with the people and energy of New York City. But I am telling you: learning to master your spirit and mind can have you master your body.

If you find yourself hitting a wall at a long-distance run, or in an emotional state, relationship or at work, breathe, identify your feelings, be with them and be present to or create a commitment that is larger than the feelings and wall. At the same time, enjoy the moment.

Challenge yourself to surpass the wall. You can start with increments. Tell yourself you will cross a certain landmark, and in how much time. Connect with Nature and people around you.

You will find that the wall disappears, or at least gets smaller! Practice.

Don't forget to check out
www.louizapatsis.com!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Drink Your Water!

It is very important to drink water before, during and after a workout, and throughout the day. About 60% of our body weight is water. Water is key ingredient in many of our body's reactions. Hydrogen and oxygen, which make up water, often dissociate from the water molecule, and go on to be parts of many chemical reactions in our bodies. Hydrogen atoms add to the acidity of molecules, and hydroxide molecules (which are often the result of the disassociation or water), add to the alkalinity of molecules. Thus water contributes to your acid-alkaline balance in your blood and body. Water also aids in digestion.

When you work out and burn calories, you often sweat. This can be a sign that what you are doing is effective. At the same time, it is important to drink water since this will be a key factor in the reactions taking place that your body needs in order to produce energy for your work out. Therefore, water can be a catalyst to weight loss.

It is recommended that you drink at least eight glasses of water per day for good health. As with everything else, get to know your body. Do not drink more water than your body wants per day. This can lead to hyponatremia. More blogs will follow on metabolic reactions and the importance of water and other molecules.

Don't forget to check out
www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained at http://www.dietitian.com/fluids.html , http://physioweb.med.uvm.edu/bodyfluids/the.htm and http://www.freedomfly.net/Articles/Nutrition/nutrition5.htm
Accessed on November 16, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Static Stretching and Isometric Stretching

Static stretching is different from passive stretching. Static stretching consists of stretching a muscle or group of musclesto its farthest point and then maintaining or holding that position. Passive stretching consists of a relaxed person who is relaxed while some external force such as a person, apparatus, wall or other, brings the joint through its range of motion.

Isometric stretching is a type of static stretching which involves the resistance of muscle groups through isometric contractions or tensing of the stretched muscles. This increases static-passive flexibility and is much more effective than either passive stretching or active stretching alone. It also helps to develop strength in the "tensed" muscles, which in turn helps to develop static-active flexibility, and it seems to decrease the amount of pain usually associated with stretching. Resistance can be applied manually to one's own limbs, a partner can apply the resistance, or an apparatus such as a wall or the floor can provide resistance.
Examples manual resistance are holding onto the toes of your foot to keep it from flexing, or putting you leg high on the wall and pressing against the wall, making sure you do not lower your leg. Or a partner could hold your leg up high.
Isometric stretching is an intermediate to advanced movement, and is not recommended for children and adolescents whose bones are still growing, or for people with high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Another type of stretch or warm-up should be done before isometric stretching. Isometric stretching can look easy, but can be strainful and can have your hear rate go up. Do this type of stretching if you have been cleared by a physician and are fit. Also, do not do isometric stretches every day. They are too be done a few times a week, month or year, depending on your fitness level and goals. If you do these stretches one day, wait at least two days before you do them again.

To perform an isometric stretch, assume the position of a passive stretch for the desired muscle. The stretched muscle should be stretched for 7-15 seconds. Then, relax the muscle for at least 20 seconds.
When you stretch, some muscle fibers are resting. During an isometric contraction, some of these resting fibers are being pulled upon from both ends by the muscles that are contracting, and they stretch! If you are only performing an isometric stretch, not many muscle fibers contract. But if you are already stretching a muscle, the initial passive stretch overcomes the stretch reflex if you hold the stretch long enough. When you subject it to an isometric contraction, some resting fibers contract and some resting fibers would stretch. Many of the fibers already stretching may be prevented from contracting by the inverse myotatic reflex (the lengthening reaction) and would stretch even more. When the isometric contraction is completed, the contracting fibers return to their resting length but the stretched fibers would remember their stretched length and will retain the ability to elongate past their previous limit for a period of time. The muscle spindles habituate to an even further-lengthened position.

Some medical studies show that a certain type of stretching for certain periods of time does not always make a difference in health, flexibility, prevention of injury and circulation. Everyone’s body is different. Try out warm-up and cool-down stretches for yourself. Getting to know your body is key. See the difference each type of stretch makes at different part of your work out. And vary your stretches throughout the year according to how you feel and results. For medical journal articles, see www.pubmed.gov, which gives free access to Medline, the largest database of medical journals, probably in the world!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some information for this blog was obtained from http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/docs/rec/stretching/stretching_4.html
Accessed on November 14, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Active Stretching and Dynamic Stretching

Active stretching is also called static-active stretching. In an active stretch, you assume a position and then hold it there with no assistance other than using the strength of your agonist muscles. An example is holding a leg high. It may look easy - people can often kick high. But try holding it for ten seconds! You are stretching your hamstrings. But you need the agonist quadriceps to hold that leg up. Try it. Even if you have big, strong quadricpes, this may be difficult if you are not used to it.


Active flexibility increases. Agonistic muscles strengthen. These stretches are usually held from between 10 and 15 seconds.Many of these are found in various forms of yoga.

When you increase reach, speed or both, you are involved in dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching, as opposed to ballistic stretching, consists of controlled leg and arm swings that take you to the limits of your range of motion with ease. Ballistic stretches often uses force to go beyond a muscle's range of motion. Dynamic stretching is smooth with no bounces or jerks. An example of dynamic stretching would be slow, controlled arm swings or torso twists. Dynamic stretching is good for warm-ups. Sets of about 10 repetitions can be perfomred.

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Some information for this blog was obtained from
Accessed on November 14, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Ballistic Stretching and Passive Stretching

Ballistic stretching is really not recommended. It involves the body bobbing up and down forcing a tight stretch out of a muscle. It can be dangerous, leading to pulling a muscle. Ballistic stretching does activate the stretch so the athlete can move with remarkable speed. Ballistic stretching is often done in high school sports. If you are flexible and in intermediate shape, this not a bad idea to do it once in a while to warm up and get the blood flowing. It should not be done more than several seconds at a time.

Passive stretching involves a partner (or wall) applying additional pressure to increase the intensity of the stretch. Passive stretching is used mainly in gymnastics. It can be dangerous for runners. Passive stretching is sometimes also called relaxed stretching, and as static-passive stretching.

During passive stretching, you assume a position and hold it with some other part of your body, or with the assistance of a partner or some other apparatus. An example is putting your leg on a dancer's bar and bending the other's legs knee, causing the hamstrings to stretch in the leg on the bar. A split is an example of a passive stretch as well. It is good for relieving spasms in muscles that are healing after an injury. It is also very good for "cooling down" after a workout and helps reduce post-workout muscle fatigue, and soreness.

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Some of these tips were obtained from http://www.atlantamartialarts.com/articles/stretching/stretching_4.htm#SEC32, http://www.lehigh.edu/dmd1/public/www-data/russ.html and http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp/docs/rec/stretching/stretching_4.html#SEC32Accessed on November 11, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Proprioreceptive (PNF) Stretching

Flexibility is an important part of being fit. Stretching is a key way to increase your flexibility. It is important to stretch before and after a workout, especially with the muscles that are in the work out routine. Stretching is a way to warm up and cool down muscles, get blood to your muscle cell, increase the range of motions of joints, and put less stress on joints, muscles and connective tissue.

Proprioreceptors on muscles relay muscle movement information to the central nervous system (CNS). When the muscle stretches to a maximal point, the CNS signals for the muscle to contract. After some seconds, other proprioreceptors signal a relaxation reaction. This all prevents overstraining muscles and injury.

In Proprioreceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), the muscle is stretched to a greater degree by increasing the proprioceptor signals through a 5- to 10-second voluntary muscle contraction, followed by a 5- to 10-second voluntary muscle relaxation. The athlete holds and contracts the muscle against resistance from a partner for 10 seconds. The athlete then relaxes, and the partner slowly moves the muscle to a new static position. This is repeated two to three times.

Intermediate and advanced athletes should partake in this type of stretching, and should be overseen by a personal trainer the first time they do it.


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Some information from this blog is obtained from http://www.hughston.com/hha/a.pnf.htm Accessed on November 10, 2005

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Women, Fitness and Fat

Women tend to have more fat than men. First of all, they have their chest and hips. If you are like me, you tend to think this is how it ought to be, and that a woman does not have to be straight or pencil-thin to be healthy. Women probably have developed an extra layer of fat than men to protect a growing fetus.

Actually, one cannot tell by looking at someone if they are fit. Think of all of those athletes that have had heart problems at what you think is their utmost shape. One has to get a medical examination and perhaps take radiological tests to really know how healthy they are. They can also look at family history, strength, endurance, flexibility and more. More on all of these will for sure come in other blogs.

If a woman (or man) is healthy and fit at a certain weight and they go from say, 120 pounds to 140 pounds, while they still work out, it does not necessarily mean they are now not as fit. First of all, muscle weighs more than fat. So it can just mean that they gained muscle! An extra inch of fat here and there does not mean that a person is out of shape or obese.

Fat is a nutrient, just like carbohydrates and protein. At nine calories per gram, it supplies more calories per gram than the other two proteins. Fat is essential for the body. It provides the "essential" fatty acids. These are not made by the body and must be obtained from food. Linoleic acid is the most important essential fatty acid. Among other things, it assists in the growth and development of infants. From fatty acids are made the molecules that are essential in the control of blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation, and other body functions. Fat stores vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat maintains healthy skin and hair. It insulates nerve cells and helps in proper nerve functioning. It surrounds and cushions our organs, protecting them from damage. It serves as the storage substance for the body's extra calories. It insulates us against cold and against falls. (I suggest forcing yourself to sit if you are about to fall, if you have some cushioning!) Fat is the energy source your body turns to after carbohydrate calories are used, which is after about 20 minutes of exercise.

There appears to be a phobia of fat in the world. Often, what we resist persists. Each person has to find a range of body fat percent that suits them, in which they are healthy and fit, and feel great. This does not mean to be pencil thin. For some people, it is genetic to be very thin and they are healthy and look great that way as well. I believe that for most people, being very thin is not necessarily healthy. This does not mean to eat junk food all day and marry the couch. The middle road is usually the best.

Women usually bear the brunt of skinny fads. I have not set up a way to take polls on this blog, but perhaps you can send me comments on if you think that being pencil thin is healthy or appealing.

For now, educate yourselves on health and on your bodies. Do not be lazy, but do not be a diet or exercise fanatic either! More blogs are to come!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com!

Some material from this blog was obtained from
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002468.htm
Accessed November 9, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Be a Cat with a Friend!

If you have pets you know how important stretching is to them. My cats, for instance, have relished in their stretches. Have you ever stretched right before getting out of bed and felt like you are giving yourself a long, revitalizing wake-up kiss, like you are in a world of your own?

There are three standpoints of working out. This will be another blog. One of them is flexibility. This is important and often overlooked. Yoga is increasing in popularity and I recommend it. But you can always do a stretch or two on your own - standing or sitting around (maybe this will be another blog), or with a friend. If you use a wall or person for resistance, it can be easier to increase your flexibility. Using a person may be more fun, and they can move you around more than a wall can!

Flexibility increases the range of motion on your joints, which allows you to life weights and do cardiovascular activity in a more proper way, utilizing more muscle fiber and gaining in strength in a balanced way. Your muscles and spine become more supple. Without stretching, you may be more prone to injury and back pain. Studies have shown that stretching may improve circulation to joints and muscle, and may actually help decelerate joint degenerative processes. Stretching is important at the beginning and end of a workout. Stretching warms up your muscles and gets your circulation with important nutrients and electrolytes flowing to the muscle cells. Stretching after a work out can do the same, and can relax the muscles.

Here are examples of stretches to do with a friend:

1. Sit down. Bend forward straight, reaching for your toes. Tell someone to push down on your back. Tell them to stop if you feel a lot of pain. Hold each position 15 seconds. Breathe. See if each time or day you do this, your hip joint and hamstrings become more flexible. And I am sure this feels good! This is my favorite!

2. Lie down (supine position). Try to keep your lower back flat on the mat or floor. Raise one leg at a time over your head as much as you can. Now, have someone slowly, warning you beforehand, lower your leg millimeters at a time. Tell them to stop if you feel a lot of pain. Hold each position 15 seconds. Breathe. See if each time or day you do this, your hip joint and hamstrings become more flexible. And I am sure this feels good!

3. Stretch out one gluteus maximus muscle at a time! Lie down (supine position). Place one leg over your hips, straight out. Bring the toes as high to your waist as you can. Have someone push the leg down and over your hips. Tell them to stop if you feel a lot of pain. Hold each position 15 seconds. Breathe. See if each time or day you do this, your hip joint and hamstrings become more flexible. And I am sure this feels good! These muscles are the largest and perhaps most powerful of the body! Feel the stretch!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com

Some information from this blog is obtained from tp://www.workoutsforwomen.com/stretch.asp Accessed on November 8, 2005

Variations

Variations of exercises are very important. Each time you vary any exercise, from a biceps curve to a squat, You get off a little plateau and work out new muscle fibers of muscle fibers in a new angle. I will not get into the biomechanics of this. You can consult a textbook. You can also try it for yourself and see how it feels. Here are three examples:

1. Biceps curls - Do some while curving your wrists outward. See what new part of your biceps muscles are targeted. Do not forget to stretch before and after. This can be done by putting your arm shoulder level or one inch higher with your thumb against the wall and moving your body away from your arm. Hold for at least three seconds.

2. Push-ups using medicine ball. Hold medicine balls while you do push-ups. This makes the exercise more difficult since you have to work on stabilizing the balls. Now try just one ball at the time. This varies the pectoral and oblique muscle fibers used. Don't forget to stretch before and after: hold your arms behind your chest and grasp your hands together. Stick your chest out. Hold for at least three seconds.

3. Leg extensions - This is for your quadriceps. Try pointing your toes in or out and doing the repetitions. This varies quadriceps muscle fibers used. Don't forget to stretch before and after: hold each leg ankle behind you one at a time). Hold for at least three seconds.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com! Thanks to all of you that have given me great comments. Tell people about my books on my web site for Christmas!

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Plyometrics: A Great Way to Increase Power and to De-Plateau

Plyometrics are any exercise where the muscle is contracted eccentrically then is immediately, contracted concentrically. The muscle is stretched (i.e. loaded) before it is contracted. An example of this is doing lunges or squats quickly one after the other, with the motion of straightening up (not fully by straightening the knees) being almost a jump. Plyometrics increase power. Power is strength or work times speed, or how much you can life or how much energy you expend in what period of time. The faster this is, the more power you have. Power is important if you want to take off at a quick speed or if you want to quickly lift a falling piece of furniture before it gets your foot!

Plyometrics places increased stretch loads on the working muscles. As the muscles become more tolerant to the increase loads, the stretch-shortening cycle becomes more efficient and power increases. You should warm up with stretching or jogging or jumping rope before plyometrics.

Sprints are plyometrics since the action going down loads the hamstring muscles. Doing push-ups with claps in between main movements and jumping (especially is the low movement is very low) are other plyometrics exercises. Catching a medicine ball thrown quickly and throwing it back quickly is also a plyometrics exercise. The further back and then forward your arms go, the more advanced is the movement.

Plyometrics exercises are great if you want to do something different and get off that plateau. These exercises should be done by intermediate and advanced fitness people.

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com.

Data from http://www.weightsnet.com/Docs/plyometrics.html#what
Accessed on November 4, 2005

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Pain

Lots of people dread pain. So what do they do? They avoid it? Lots of these same people are the ones that sign up for a gym membership only to go a few times before going back to relaxing on the couch. If someone starts working out for the first time ever or in years, the old adage "No pain, no gain" may be true. And if you want to lose weight, you most often have to sweat. So that means that doing the stationary bicycle on Level Zero for twenty minutes a day may do close to nothing for healthy, fit individuals.

If you want muscle gain in strength and size, you often have to take your muscle beyond the work it usually does. Muscle fibers may tear and grow back, stronger and larger. You may feel pain that day of the next.

One of the most invaluable things about working out is that you get to know your body and yourself. You get to know what is bogus pain and what is real pain. For instance, if your toe or your stomach hurts a little, if you have a slight back pain or if you are a little drowsy and have a slight headache, that can be an excuse not to work out. There are times that I had pneumonia, a severe cold, little sleep, and major back pain, and I worked out. Now I don't suggest you do the same thing. I have been working out for years. But do not fool yourself into making excuses for yourself.

Rest is very important. If you have true pain or really need rest, skip a day at the gym. The pain can be good news: it can show you that you really need to see a physician or a chiropractor, rest, sleep or do something to de-stress. Learn to listen to yourself. And you bet you will, the more you work out!

Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com.

Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Women's Knees

Many athletes and people who work out complain about knee injuries. Knee pain can indicate an injury in a ligament, bursae, or tendon that surrounds the knee joint. It can also indicate arthritis. Women tend to have more cases of certain types of knee injuries than men. One such injury is problems with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This ligament prevents the knee from moving side to side and forward and backward. Some studies have also shown a connection between knee injuries and estrogen. Women are more susceptible to this when their estrogen levels are high, as during ovulation. Women should be extra careful to warm up or stretch leg muscles before and after exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight so as not to place too much stress on the knees is also important. Strengthening leg muscles is key. *

Several orthopedists have warned women not to wear high-heel shoes. They may have something to do with osteoarthritis, which is seen more often in women over 45 years of age than in men over 45 years of age. High heels may increase rotatory forces in the area where women get osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects cartilage, which is the part of joints that cushions them. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage gets worn down. If a person has this condition for a long time, their joints can lost their normal shape. Bone spurs can grow at the ends of a joint. Men have more knee cartilage than women, and so are more protected against the condition in their knees than women. In addition, some studies show that elevated estrogen levels exist in women who have osteoarthritis. ^

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*http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=22199
Disclaimer: Information on this blog is posted for information purposes, not as a substitute for professional medical advice.

^http://www.obgyn.net/women/women.asp?page-=/women/SWHR-highheels

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Are Skeletal Muscles White or Red?

Yes! There are three kinds of muscle: cardiac, visceral (involuntary) and skeletal (voluntary). Skeletal muscles that you use to lift weights in the gym are made up of white and red muscle fiber. How much of each type of muscle fiber we have is genetic.

Thus red muscle tissue contains an extra chemical a special protein-type molecule for oxygen storage called myoglobin. This molecule gives the muscles their red color. The presence of myoglobin in posture muscles enables the sustained contractions for maintaining proper posture and walk. Muscles that depend predominantly on oxidative phosphorylation for ATP require abundant oxygen. Oxygen in these muscles is stored as oxymyoglobin. These muscles are glycolytic, lack appreciable myoglobin and appear white. These muscles generally generate most of their ATP from glycolytic reactions. White fibers generate ATP by a short reaction pathway between substrates such as glucose and the appearance of ATP, whereas in red muscle the pathway from substrate such as glucose to ATP is comprised of many more reaction steps and and is a longer process.

Fast-acting skeletal muscles such as those used by power lifters are composed of dominantly glycolytic white fibers while slow-acting muscles such as those that maintain tone or that are used for marathon running are generally red and oxidative. Most of us have an intermediate balance of white and red muscle fibers. Other people like those that are top marathon runner or power lifters have a predominance of one type of muscle fiber. Most likely, an avid marathon runner could not power life and an avid power lifter could not run a marathon!

Have fun at your work out! Don't forget to check out www.louizapatsis.com.